The Top 10 Event Venues in Dallas
Dallas began in 1841 as a single cabin along the Trinity River. John Neely Bryan selected the spot for a trading post because it was the only good point to cross the Trinity for miles.
When oil was discovered in East Texas in 1930, Dallas became a conduit for the wealth generated by the nearby fields, and the city flourished. Today, according to Exhibitor Magazine’s list of the 20 most popular cities for trade shows and corporate events in the U.S., Dallas is the top destination for events in the state of Texas, beating Austin (14), Houston (15), and San Antonio (19), and the city ranks number eight in the nation.
Naturally, the city is rich with event destinations. Whether you are hosting an event for 100 people or 100,000, Dallas has the perfect location for you.
Location: Arlington, TX
Okay, this one isn’t actually in Dallas (the city of Arlington is located between Dallas and Fort Worth), but AT&T Stadium is inexorably linked with the city and an impressive venue. Known by many colloquial names to locals – including “Jerry World” and “The Death Star” (due to its massive size and spherical resemblance to a certain planet killer) – AT&T Stadium is the famous home field of the Dallas Cowboys. It is also the setting for several high-profile high school and college football games, including the Big XII Championship and the Cotton Bowl Classic, and a variety of concerts.
While it is the perfect location of an event for 100,000 attendees, that is not a requirement. AT&T Stadium has 22 flexible event locations that can accommodate corporate and private events for up to 8,000 people.
Location: Victory Park
This Thom Mayne-designed building provides Dallas with one of its most interesting facades, a flowing, angular building designed to resemble the stratified surfaces of the Earth. Of course, the exterior is only the beginning of the thought-provoking activities found at The Perot. Attendees can test their athletic prowess against the simulation of a professional baseball player, race against a cheetah or T-Rex, soar like an eagle, withstand a massive earthquake, and hundreds of other activities. With five floors packed with activities and information, The Perot Museum allows event planners to rent a single floor or the entire building. Regardless of age, attendees will be captivated by The Perot.
Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center
This massive venue totals 2 million square feet, with 1 million of that dedicated to exhibit space and a 10,000-seat arena. Hosting trade shows, conferences and concerts, more than 1 million attendees cross the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center’s threshold each year. This venue also has 88 meeting rooms to accommodate events of nearly any size.
A sky bridge connects the convention center to the nearby Omni Hotel, making it easy for out-of-town guests to locate room and board.
Hickory Street Annex
Location: Deep Ellum
Capacity: 200 (for weddings and events), 250 (for cocktail parties)
Hickory Street Annex is a collection of historic buildings built in 1921. A variety of creative and artistic businesses are located on-site. One building, however, is reserved entirely for events. The space was once a large warehouse and features a double span of iron trusses, exposed brick walls, and windows on all sides with a gorgeous view of downtown.
The Hickory Street Annex only schedules one event per day, so there’s never an overlap. For planners interested in an industrial, creative vibe for their event, the Hickory Street Annex is an ideal solution.
Dallas Market Center
Location: Design District
Dallas Market Center is a business-to-business trade center that hosts more than 50 trade shows and special events annually. In total, the venue connects more than 200,000 retailers and interior designers with top manufacturers in fashion, home décor, furniture, and lighting.
The Market Center is actually four buildings that share a 5 million square-feet campus: the World Trade Center, Trade Mart, Market Hall, and Interior Home + Design Center. Several hotels surround the Dallas Market Center campus, so it is easy to find accommodations for even for the largest event.
Sixty Five Hundred (6500)
Location: Dallas Love Field Airport
Yes, it’s super annoying that there’s no hyphen between “Sixty” and “Five,” but other than that, this is a fun venue conveniently located just outside of Dallas Love Field Airport. Initially constructed in 1952 as a warehouse for General Electric, the 20,000-square-foot building features 20-foot pinewood ceilings, a stained concrete floor, and an open layout. The vibe is both modern, industrial, rustic, and luxurious.
Smaller events should not feel intimidated by the building’s size since it is possible to rent just a portion of the venue. Also, housing out-of-towners is exceptionally convenient with a Doubletree by Hilton located just behind the venue.
Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
Capacity: 300 (indoor meetings), 600 (outdoor receptions)
Set on the 4.63-acre estate of a former cotton tycoon (once Dallas’ principal cash crop), the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek offers event planners a gourmet restaurant and luxury hotel with many options for events. The restaurant is housed in the same 1925 mansion that was once the tycoon’s home.
The site’s massive interior and expansive, elegant manicured grounds provide plenty of event opportunities. Despite its historical setting, planners can rest assured that all technical aspects are upgraded and state-of-the-art.
Without a doubt, Reunion Tower’s ball-on-a-stick design is the most iconic aspect of Dallas’ skyline. After a ride in the venue’s glass elevators, guests are greeted with a breathtaking, 360-degree view of downtown and the surrounding area.
Planners can choose from three different levels, each with its own atmosphere. On the GEO-Deck, attendees can remain inside or head outside to the observation deck and see the city from 560 feet in the air. Cloud Nine provides a causal ambiance that is nonetheless impressive due to its floor-to-ceiling windows. Finally, the Five Sixty fine-dining restaurant sits on a revolving floor, so even stationary guests get to take in every view of the city.
The Granada Theater
Location: Lower Greenville
Built in 1946, the Granada Theater almost suffered the fate of so many elegant, post-WWII movie theaters by falling into disrepair through disuse and neglect. Fortunately, the building was saved and repurposed into a concert and event hall. Event planners can use the space for meetings, dances, concerts, or even as it was originally intended and host a film screening.
Planners also have the option to head next door to the farm-to-table restaurant, Sundown at Granada, where guests can observe the Greenville Ave. vibe from an expansive rooftop patio.
The Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden
Location: White Rock Lake
Per square foot, The Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden is the most beautiful location in Dallas. Of course, it’s difficult for any other venue to compete with millions of carefully manicured flowers and plants, elegant fountains, and historic structures spread throughout 66 acres of individually designed gardens.
Planners can elect to host an event outside – the gardens range in size to accommodate a wide variety of events – or inside at the DeGolyer Estate, a 21,000 square-foot mansion built in 1940, or Rosine Hall, a modern, 5,000-square-foot banquet area. Fair warning, the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden is massive and in high demand. So, it’s highly likely that your event will occur at or around the same time as one or several other proceedings.